The first time she climbed through my bedroom window in the middle of the night I was ten and she was eight. She didn’t say anything, just clung to me beneath my purple unicorn blanket and quivered. I wrapped my arms around her and held her and cried without a word because the truth was, I saw the blood smeared on her thighs as she climbed in.
She climbed through my window a lot that summer. I didn’t mind. We never talked about why she trusted me or why she felt safe here. We just were.
Sometime in October I saw flashing lights on my wall and heard yelling next door and looked out to see her mom’s husband helped into a policeman’s car, his wrists wrapped in cuffs as her mom screamed obscenities and hurled his clothes across the yard. I never saw him again.
For a while I didn’t see her either. I heard her mom tell mine that she had been “insta-lushun-ized”, whatever that meant. I also learned that “motherfucker” didn’t actually have anything to do with a mother and more to do with a bad man who hurt little girls.
When she came back home, it was summer again. She had new scars that looked liked stripes and scratches and holes on her arms and the skin beneath her eyes was grey. When she smiled, it never seemed as if her eyes smiled with her lips. She left again before school started again. This time I didn’t see her for another two years.
Back home again, she still snuck into my room sometimes. I still held her. She didn’t have blood on her skin but she still seemed to think there was still some left there. We talked a lot. Or maybe, really, I talked and she did a lot of listening. I liked to tell stories and I usually wrote them down. She always listened and had questions and asked for more and more. I think maybe it was during those times I sat there brushing her hair, telling of the adventures in far off lands that she was somehow there too. If my brush stilled, she’d gently say, don’t stop. If my story ended, she’d ask for another, a hint of desperation in her voice.
When I was seventeen and she was fifteen, she climbed into my window and told me they were moving. Her and her mom and her new dad. He, at least, was a good dad. She adored him and his eyes were soft when he looked at her. I think he must have known she was broken and so he held her very gently, so as to not break her bird-like bones.
When I was twenty-two, my own parents decided to move away, but they let me buy the house from them, because I loved this town and I loved my job and I was just getting ready to publish my first book. We hugged good-bye on the front lawn and they drove away to Florida, where apparently it’s warmer and winters aren’t so cold.
So it was a quiet December evening several years later and there was a little snow building up on the window ledges when I heard a tapping on the glass in what was once my bedroom but was now my office. I set both my book and my tea down and went in to investigate, my soft grey kitty following me silently.
The last time she climbed through my window I was twenty-four and she was twenty-two and we laughed a little as she struggled a little to climb through, bundled as she was in her puffy winter jacket. We hugged each other tight for what seemed like forever but really was only a few minutes. And when we at last pulled apart, I saw her cheeks were still rosy with the winter chill and there were melted snowflakes clinging to the knitted hat which attempted to tame her soft ginger waves and her eyes were still wide and hazel with flecks of gold and blue.
Inviting her into the living room where I had a fire going in the fireplace, she curled herself in front of the chair closest to the heat, arms wrapped around her knees and back resting against the footrest. She chose to stare into the flames as I busied myself brewing a cup of tea for her and filling the space between us with an endless stream of words.
When I set the cup beside her, she turned to rest her cheek on her knee and looked at me for a moment before smiling a little smile and I noticed this time it reached right up into her eyes and I realized just how beautiful she really was. I smiled wider and told her how happy I was to see her again and how I missed her. Her eyes grew soft and she said, brush my hair?
I laughed a little and left to get my hairbrush. When I returned she’d gone back to watching the flames and I noticed my little grey kitty had already curled up next to her. I couldn’t blame her, really. Then sitting behind her, I gently removed her hat and began to use my fingers before moving on to the brush. She sighed and then murmured, tell me a story.
I smiled and shook my head but started in anyway. I told her a story I had been working on, for my next book actually, up to the point I was at, at least. She hardly moved except to sip her tea or run her fingers through the fur of the soft puffball beside her. Sometimes she would ask a question but mostly she simply listened.
A few hours passed and I hardly knew where the time had gone yet it felt so perfectly natural here with her. When it came time to go to bed, I stood up and held out my hand to her and pulled her to her feet. And with her hand still in mine, I turned and led her to my bed where sleep came to us much, much later. I held her in my arms that night, like so many nights before. Only this time my tears weren’t of helpless sorrow but instead they were tears of sweet joy. Tears of quiet completion.
She never climbed through my window again.
tara caribou | ©2019-2021
As much as I try to pretend it doesn’t, it actually does. Hurt, I mean. I do this to myself, when I’m honest with myself. That I sink into this comfortable place thinking that my loyalty means a goddamn thing to anyone. That maybe I am important to one person or the other. It’s takes these little reminders to remember: how wrong I am. How naive. How utterly pathetic.
Be independent, they say. Love yourself first, they preach. Selfish mother fuckers. Oh, I’m selfish; don’t get me wrong. I want unconditional love (who doesn’t). I want to matter. I want to be remembered. I want someone to lie awake, like I do, staring at that dark ceiling and ache to be laying next to me, of all people. Or is it just me? Am I the only one who wants something better? To be loved. To be wanted. To laugh and cry, but not alone.
Or how about this one: to be accepted like I am without stipulations or the lens of some other person as an overlay. Damnit, I’m me. I’m not her or anyone else. I. Am. Me. I’m tired of crying. Harden that heart back up, girl. But I can’t because: been there, done that. I know the actual results of that.
I say: oh, I don’t care if you don’t read what I write. Because then I trick myself into not caring. But I do. Yeah, I actually do. But I do this to myself, don’t I? At least that’s what you’re always telling me.
tara caribou | ©2021 stream of consciousness
A fever has overtaken my addled mind. My flushed skin feels tight, stretched, too small. In the mirror I see a reflection of a woman, but it’s as if through another set of eyes. I am a stranger within my own flesh. It wasn’t always this way.
It’s like I am sitting beside myself, and the other me is occasionally breathed back through the nostrils in my eye. I feel fuzzy in the head, and then calm and am not sure about what I just said. I’m but a shard of man, aching bitter-sad. Teddy bears haunt my eyes, but it’s the jackals that have my cock. He’s the man I’ve always known. He’s the man who sits alone.
I met him one rainy September night, outside a bar in Tennessee. His black jeans and skin-tight black t-shirt and black spiky hair…. mmmmm, yeah, I was already a goner. He eyes flashed bright for a moment as he asked if he could buy me a drink and I didn’t say no. One drink, we told each other lies. Two, he touched my arm as I laughed. Three, I leaned in for a kiss. Before we got to four, I took him back to my place. Kissing my neck as I unlocked the door, pulling him inside quickly, he lifted me up and fucked me against my front door.
She kisses me like I’m me but her eyes caution she’s wound in vulgar snap, of Apollo’s clasp. We bludgeon her front door with the bulk of our mysteries, darting in and out of each other’s eye cavities in frantic search pulse, a string, tied to a balloon of melancholy waiting to be burst – as my dick excreted its worst into her numbing grotto. It was great.
The rest of the night we spent in various compromising positions. It was incredible as he met me quite perfectly as a lover. For a night. There were moments when his voice would alter in pitch and he’d be calling out in tongues. I ate it up as he fucked me hard. The following morning was almost domestic as we made breakfast together and giggled about some of the funnier moments from the last 16 hours. We kissed at the door, he bit my lip until I bled, I moaned in his mouth and waved him goodbye. He went his way and I went mine. It was a good fuck.
Stupid jokes. I had to listen to her cackle like some breed of haughty witch as she whirled her coffee to frothy cloud of debasement, only second floor version. I knew, as I wafted through the door, that her thoughts of me were dim and that every last flicker was devoured by that chiseled, brainless shit she called me.
While I kept remembering his hands on my body from the previous night, still imagine my surprise when he showed up at the bar again that night, pushing his way between me and another patron at the bar. He pecked me on the cheek familiarly. ‘What are you doing?!’ I sputtered. Didn’t he understand how this works?? Apparently not. His dark eyes went luminous as I spent the next 45 minutes trying to convince him we were only good for the one night before finally giving up, paying my tab, and heading home.
Wow, how her eyes bloomed wide when I made my way into the bar. So pleased to see me, she waltzed back to allow me the space to spread. Her face lost a few shades as her lech for me drained into the sockets of her bloodshot bulbs. This wasn’t the spit of chance. The seed was lit.
Not thirty minutes passed before he was once more at my front door. I stepped out to put an end to “this” once and for all. His piercing words chilled me. I will devour you, bite by bite, inside out. But at least he left. My lip started bleeding again. The following morning, I felt a little sick and stayed home instead of going out. A week later, the fever arrived. I kept seeing glances of him out of the corner of my eye. His fingers trailing across my heated flesh. And a feeling of me not being my own self within my skin: what had he done to me?
The seer grabbed her by the wrists, and said “sit”, so she did. As lass looked down at her tapping toes she didn’t quite know what boiled from below, so she slowed, a bit. The crimson leaves swayed from torching this trees in the deep of her pit. Now aglow, from the man she cared not to know, and now, as she drooled ash, she felt it.
I regretted not getting his number. Or knowing his last name even. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. My skin became dry and itchy, heated from within. Scabbed over scratches across my body. Days and nights filled with longing. I kept my curtains closed and pulled them aside periodically just to see if perhaps he stood out there for me. My belly began to swell, my brain separated, and I began to listen to a new voice instead.
Anthony Gorman & tara caribou | ©2018-2021
Writing with Anthony was curiously entrancing. His dark, provocative style worked incredible images in my mind. He has a way of looking at things sideways and perhaps through a mirror. Maybe a bit like Picasso. Check him out over at hands in the garden.
Hello friends. The last month has been a whirl. I took a week off as I do every year for subsistence fishing (salmon) only to fall very sick for a full two weeks, hence the lack of activity on your blogs. I confess I probably will not be able to “catch up” on all your fine posts but I’m back to read now.
I thought I’d share with you some nature photos from July before I fell ill. I hope you all enjoy.
tara caribou | ©2021 all photos by me
I see you.
You see me.
Our eyes meet,
In a moment, just one second,
I see all the possibilities
and longings of a lifetime
being met in you.
I imagine your hand in mine
I see us eating together
Laughing, lots of laughing
I feel your fingers
Trace down my throat
Your lips devouring mine
Burning skin on burning skin
Hands everywhere, squeezing
Your hand wrapping in my curls
Pulling back, hard
Breathing heavy, raspy, unsteady
I’m wet, so wet
Dripping down my legs
You lift me up
I wrap myself around you
Strong arms holding me up
Now the wall to my back
Grip my wrists and hold them
above my head
Then it’s you
Inside me, taking me
Loving me, wholly
Our voices in chorus
Moans turn to whimpers turn to sighs
Yes, you are mine and I am so yours
I would follow you anywhere
Our eyes join and at that very instant
We live, in that moment, together.
Then, you blink.
And it’s just you seeing me.
And me seeing you.
tara caribou | ©2017-2021 revised
I pull the sheets up to my chin. There are monsters here, but they aren’t out there. No, they reside within. Snapping their powerful jaws and flexing their pointed claws. They dig inside my brain and find all the worst parts of me.
“You will never be more than a smear beneath the boot the Others.” Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me twice. I know I will never measure up. I know I’ll never be enough. I know I’m pathetic and weak and strange. You aren’t telling me anything I don’t already believe.
I check the knobs on the stove once, twice, better check them again. You can only scrub the dirt off these hands for so long. Door locked? It doesn’t help. Neither do these sheets. It’s all within. Don’t bother digging around, I’ve seen it all before.
Still, I grip the sheets tighter and squeeze my eyes closed. What is this on my cheeks? My pillow? Damn it, we’ve been over this. It never helps. Tears. Blood. (drip-drip-drip… so pretty on my skin, on the tiles) Screaming. Scratching. Rocking forward, back. Forward, back. Nothing ever helps. Nothing… except the moon and the stars and soft fur and gentle eyes and a hug and a smile and nothing except the hope of love, love, love.
tara caribou | ©2021
He took my hand in his and together
we walked by the sea.
As we traveled,
not a word was spoken between us,
it was just him and me,
my thoughts and his entwined
like our fingers,
fitting perfectly together.
The trail we shared wound up and away
over mountain tops and shadowed valleys,
yet still we continued on,
him and I,
crossing fields and glaciers.
Morning followed evening and
night became day,
still on we roamed,
each holding on to the other.
We measured distance in
memories and sighs.
Glancing first him to me then
I to him.
A smile, a turn of the lips,
the stroke on the back of my hand.
No words need voiced, for
we saw reflections
there within our eyes
the true meaning of
the earth we journeyed.
It was love that held us together.
It was love that lifted our eyes.
It was love that guided our footsteps.
It was love, it was love, it was love.
tara caribou | ©2018-2021
Read more like this in my poetry books, Fallen Star Rising & Four.
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